Headaches: What You Need To Know
The NCCIH Clearinghouse provides information on NCCIH and complementary and integrative health approaches, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.
Toll-free in the U.S.: 1-888-644-6226
tty (for deaf and hard-of-hearing callers):
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends email)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
NINDS conducts and supports research on how the brain and nervous system function and on treatments for neurological diseases.
Toll-free in the U.S.: 1-800-352-9424
A service of the National Library of Medicine, PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals. For guidance from NCCIH on using PubMed, see How To Find Information About Complementary Health Approaches on PubMed.
To provide resources that help answer health questions, MedlinePlus (a service of the National Library of Medicine) brings together authoritative information from the National Institutes of Health as well as other Government agencies and health-related organizations.
- Abbott RB, Hui KK, Hays RD, et al. A randomized controlled trial of tai chi for tension headaches. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2007;4(1):107-113.
- Andrasik F. Biofeedback in headache: an overview of approaches and evidence. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2010;77(Suppl 3):S72-S76.
- Bendtsen L, Jensen R. Treating tension-type headache—an expert opinion. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy. 2011;12(7):1099-1109.
- Chaibi A, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. Manual therapies for migraine: a systematic review. Journal of Headache and Pain. 2011;12(2):127-133.
- Haynes MJ, Vincent K, Fischhoff C, et al. Assessing the risk of stroke from neck manipulation: a systematic review. International Journal of Clinical Practice. 2012;66(10):940-947.
- Nestoriuc Y, Martin A. Efficacy of biofeedback for migraine: a meta-analysis. Pain. 2007;128(1–2):111-127.
- Nestoriuc Y, Martin A, Rief W, et al. Biofeedback treatment for headache disorders: a comprehensive efficacy review. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. 2008;33(3):125-140.
- Nestoriuc Y, Rief W, Martin A. Meta-analysis of biofeedback for tension-type headache: efficacy, specificity, and treatment moderators. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2008;76(3):379-396.
- Posadzki P, Ernst E. Systematic reviews of spinal manipulations for headaches: an attempt to clear up the confusion. Headache. 2011;51(9):1419-1425.
- Ramsden CE, Zamora D, Faurot KR, et al. Dietary alteration of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids for headache reduction in adults with migraine: randomized controlled trial. BMJ. 2021;374:n1448.
- Rist PM, Buring JE, Cook NR, et al. Effect of vitamin D and/or marine n-3 fatty acid supplementation on changes in migraine frequency and severity. American Journal of Medicine. 2021;134(6):756-762.e5.
- Verhagen AP, Damen L, Berger MY, et al. Behavioral treatments of chronic tension-type headache in adults: are they beneficial? CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics. 2009;15(2):183-205.
- Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, et al. Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012;172(19):1444-1453.
- Avins AL. Needling the status quo. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012;172(19):1454-1455.
- Biofeedback. MedlinePlus website. Accessed at www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002241.htm on March 24, 2014.
- Birdee GS, Wayne PM, Davis RB, et al. T’ai chi and qigong for health: patterns of use in the United States. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2009;15(9):969-973.
- Brasky TM, Darke AK, Song X, et al. Plasma phospholipid fatty acids and prostate cancer risk in the SELECT trial. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2013;105(15):1132-1141.
- Chua ME, Sio MCD, Sorongon MC, et al. Relationship of dietary intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids with risk of prostate cancer development: a meta-analysis of prospective studies and review of literature. Prostate Cancer. 2012;2012:826254.
- Dagenais S, Haldeman S. Chiropractic. Primary Care. 2002;29(2):419-437.
- Ernst E. Acupuncture–a critical analysis. Journal of Internal Medicine. 2006;259(2):125-137.
- Hidaka T, Fujii K, Funahashi I, et al. Safety assessment of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Biofactors. 2008;32(1-4):199-208.
- Kaur K, Hernandez V, Al Hajaj SW, et al. The efficacy of herbal supplements and nutraceuticals for prevention of migraine: can they help? Cureus. 2021;13(5):e14868.
- Kemper KJ, Breuner CC. Complementary, holistic, and integrative medicine: headaches. Pediatrics in Review. 2010;31(2):e17-e23.
- Lao L. Safety issues in acupuncture. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 1996;2(1):27-31.
- Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Drummond PD. Herbal treatments for migraine: a systematic review of randomised-controlled studies. Phytotherapy Research. 2020;34(10):2493-2517.
- Maghsoumi-Norouzabad L, Mansoori A, Abed R, et al. Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the frequency, severity, and duration of migraine attacks: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutritional Neuroscience. 2018;21(9):614-623.
- Malone M, Tsai G. The evidence for herbal and botanical remedies, part 1. Journal of Family Practice. 2018;67(1):10-16.
- Man L-X. Complementary and alternative medicine for allergic rhinitis. Current Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. 2009;17(3):226-231.
- Moyer CA, Rounda J, Hannum JW. A meta-analysis of massage therapy research. Psychological Bulletin. 2004;130(1):3-18.
- Nahin RL, Boineau R, Khalsa PS, Stussman BJ, Weber WJ. Evidence-based evaluation of complementary health approaches for pain management in the United States. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2016;91(9):1292-1306.
- National Cancer Institute. Coenzyme Q10 (PDQ®)—Health Professional Version. National Cancer Institute website. Accessed at cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/coenzyme-q10-pdq on June 3, 2021.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Pain: Hope Through Research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Accessed at www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chronic_pain/detail_chronic_pain.htm on March 24, 2014.
- Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements website. Accessed at ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/ on June 8, 2021.
- Office of Dietary Supplements. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Accessed at ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/ on August 4, 2021.
- Office of Dietary Supplements. Riboflavin. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements website. Accessed at https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Riboflavin-HealthProfessional/ on June 8, 2021.
- Pringsheim T, Davenport WJ, Mackie G, et al. Canadian Headache Society guideline for migraine prophylaxis. Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences. 2012;39(2 Suppl 2):S1-S59.
- Sazali S, Badrin S, Norhayati MN, et al. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation for prophylaxis in adult patients with migraine—a meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 2021;11(1):e039358.
- Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Kahn J, et al. A survey of training and practice patterns of massage therapists in two US states. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2005;5:13.
- Szymanski KM, Wheeler DC, Mucci LA. Fish consumption and prostate cancer risk: a review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010;92(5):1223-1233.
- Thompson DF, Saluja HS. Prophylaxis of migraine headaches with riboflavin: a systematic review. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 2017;42(4):394-403.
- Vickers A, Zollman C, Payne DK. Hypnosis and relaxation therapies. Western Journal of Medicine. 2001;175(4):269-272.
- Villani AM, Crotty M, Cleland LG, et al. Fish oil administration in older adults: is there potential for adverse events? A systematic review of the literature. BMC Geriatrics. 2013;13(1):41.
- von Luckner A, Riederer F. Magnesium in migraine prophylaxis—is there an evidence-based rationale? A systematic review. Headache. 2018;58(2):199-209.
- Xu S, Wang L, Cooper E, et al. Adverse events of acupuncture: a systematic review of case reports. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013;2013:581203.
This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.
NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.